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Tortoise Hoya or Wax Plant

Hoya imbricata


Unusual myrmecophile hoya with large, decorative, mottled green and purple dome-shaped leaves of some 25 cm in diameter, which offer accommodation to ant colonies. The specific epithet "imbricata" refers to this similarity to roofing tiles. Ant colonize the space beneath the leaves, using adjacent leaves as "nurseries", food storage, or specialized rooms for the ant colony. The plant may absorb a significant amount of carbon dioxide exhaled by ants, providing the plants carbon needs for production of sugar, proteins and lipids.


Tree trunks at low and medium altitudes.


In folk/traditional medicine, (a) Leaves are applied externally as a poultice to ripen boils. (b) Mixture of burned and charred leaves - triturated, mixed with coconut oil and stirred thoroughly - is applied to old wounds or varicose ulcers ("bangkukang") for rapid cicatrization. -

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Nueva Ecija, Philippines

Spotted on Jun 4, 2019
Submitted on Jun 4, 2019

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